Meet the CEO of Nualtra
For Bosses Day on October 16th, we caught up with the CEO of Nualtra, Mark Lane to put the spotlight on what he enjoys about his role as well as the highs and lows of running a business.
How long have you worked at Nualtra?
I joined Paul back in early 2015, so I am in my 9th year now. For so many reasons it feels like I was destined to be at Nualtra; like everything that came before, in the world of medical nutrition, was leading up to this.
What do you enjoy most about your role as CEO?
It is a privilege to work with so many talented people here and one of the things I enjoy most is seeing them develop over the years. My team are exceptional and I take a great deal of pride in knowing we have reached the point now, where they really don’t need me.
What makes Nualtra such a special place to work?
Throughout my career I have worked with the very best professionals, and over 25 years I have seen them come and go. At Nualtra, they come and they stay! I know that people join a company for a specific set of reasons but they leave for very different ones. It is those reasons that we aim to remove.
Ultimately it is our culture that makes the difference and whilst that is difficult describe, it is all underpinned by our company values. The things we all care about, the things we hold true. They are a set of characteristics, behaviours and attitudes. These things cannot be taught and they cannot be coached, that is why we are so careful when it comes to recruitment. The greatest weighting of criteria we use when selecting new employees is what we call ‘behavioural competencies’. Curiosity, hunger, desire, resilience, care, and integrity come naturally. Being able to trust your colleagues and want to collaborate with them is essential. As a result we work well together; no one cares who gets the credit when we succeed and no one fears failing.
We win and lose together but everyone has fun. I won’t mention names but many of us spend time together outside of work and even share family holidays. It is an extraordinary place.
You would do anything for your family or friends wouldn’t you? … well it is the same at Nualtra. It is easy to align a lot of people around a common goal if we all care, not just about the destination, but how we get there. The Irish would say it’s all about the ‘craic’ and they would be right!
What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
We have just started the 2nd half of our financial year so there is still a long way to go. I’m delighted that we have already achieved our financial goals so that means we have earned our freedom to embark on some out-of-plan activities. The integration of the Cambrooke Therapeutics business is now complete in the UK and I am looking forward to participating in the strategy development of the inherited metabolic disease portfolio. There is much we can learn from that area of speciality and I know both patients and healthcare professionals will benefit from Cambrooke utilising the systems Nualtra already has in place. I anticipate some breakthrough clinical outcomes from trials that are underway in patients with liver disease. The early indications are positive, so that is always something to be excited about.
We continue to grow our team at Nualtra so I also look forward to welcoming new colleagues. Any opportunity we have to spend time with each other is something to look forward to and for that reason BAPEN, our Christmas party and global leadership gatherings are at the top of my list before the end of the year. Finally, we will be on our Nualtra conference in May 24 and the planning for that will start in January. Every year they are bigger and better. It is the highlight of my year, even though it takes me a week to recover. I am the oldest guy in the company and it is increasingly difficult to keep up with the youngsters!
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the medical nutrition industry?
As we emerge from the chaos of the last few years, one of the main learnings for me has been that no matter the magnitude of the challenge we face, it is the agility and leadership within the business that determines how well you cope. Being able to move without delay and pivot strategy in a fast-changing environment is essential. Equally critical is that leadership should exist at all levels in the organisation.
Some factors are a legacy of the pandemic, Brexit and the more recent cost-of-living crisis. Some will remain with us for a while yet. Increased cost and scarcity of raw materials is a long-term trend, increased regulatory pressures, inertia in parts of the supply chain and manufacturing capacity are all challenges we have overcome and will continue to do so. We are very pleased that at no point over the last few years have we left patients without products. Not all businesses can say that, particularly ones that are growing by 40% each year!
Some of the challenges for the whole industry are not necessarily challenges for Nualtra but I think there will be an ever-present war for the most talented people. The best recruiters will be the winners. We are growing at nearly 5 times the pace of the whole market and that means we must remain ahead of our competitors. Creating new innovations, providing new solutions and remaining necessary to the success of customers is key.
Who inspires you and what’s your favourite quote?
There are several public figures who deserve admiration for what they have achieved. I think of Elon Musk when it comes to innovation, Bill Gates when it comes to commercialising invention and Barack Obama for breaking the mould of US Presidents, but it is not the famous that inspire me. I am enthused by the heavy guy in the gym who is trying to better himself, the bullied teenager who overcomes adversity to achieve her goals and the mum I see most days walking with her severely disabled son. The compassion, the love and the unwavering commitment of these ‘every-day’ people is what inspires me. I like to think I could be just as resilient if I faced their challenges but I know I wouldn’t be. That why they inspire me.
My favourite quote at the moment is … ‘Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get’ - Jackson Brown
What do you do to unwind?
Exercise. Walking, running, cycling, gym classes, some strength work and general well-being activities. I find calm by the sea, I don’t know why but there is something peaceful about the ocean for me.
What’s been your favourite holiday destination?
So many wonderful destinations over the years but a river safari on the Zambezi probably tops the list.